CRJ 405, History of Criminal Justice

Summer, 2017


Dr. Randall G. Shelden

Office: GUA, room 5140

Phone: 895-0251; e-mail:

Web site:

Office Hours:  Monday-Thursday, 11:00-noon


Required Readings:


I.  On my web site: look under UNLV Student’s Page


Randall G. Shelden, Controlling the Dangerous Classes: A History of Criminal Justice (2nd ed.).



Aim of Course:


A famous philosopher George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We usually fail to study history and we have condemned ourselves to repeat it.  For this course, we will be reviewing some of the major themes in the history of the criminal and juvenile justice system. Specific histories of each of the major components of the criminal justice system (police, courts, corrections), plus juvenile justice will be examined via both readings and lectures.  A special look at women and the criminal/juvenile justice system will also be examined. Finally, there will be a look ahead in the new century with an examination of the “crime control industry.” Among the specific themes to be covered during the course lectures will be that of race, class and gender bias throughout American history.  We will be constantly looking back into history with an eye to how it relates to today and the future. 


Course Grading and Exams:  Your grade in the course will be based upon your scores on three exams (each worth 100 points).  For each exam, the grade will be based upon the following formula: 90% or more = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, below 60% = F.  Final grades are based upon the following formula: 270-300 = A, 240-279 = B, 210-239 = C, 180-209 = D, below 180 = F. Grades of plus or minus will be given in borderline cases.


Note: There will be no make-ups unless there is an extremely unusual situation, and then the student must contact our office prior to the scheduled exam. 


Classroom Courtesy:


Please make every effort to arrive to class on time and stay until class is completed.  However, if you are running late, I hope you do not miss class because of this.  If you are late or have to leave early, please do so as quietly as possible.  Positively no cell phones, beepers, etc. are permitted (turn them off before you get to class).  And please do not talk while others (including the instructor) are talking.  It is rude behavior and will not be tolerated.


Disability Statement:  If you have a documented disability that may require assistance, you will need to contact the Disability Resource Center for coordination in your academic accommodations.  The DRC is located in the Reynolds Student Services Complex in room 137.  The DRC phone number is 895-0866 (TDD - 895-0652).



Dates                                                  Reading Assignments                    


5/15–5/19               Introduction and chapters 1-2                                   


5/19                           First Exam (covering above assignments + lectures)


5/22–5/26               Chapters 3-5


5/26                           Second Exam (covering chapters 3-5 + lectures)


5/29                           Memorial Day


5/30–6/2                 Chapters 6-8


6/2                        Final Exam (covering chapters 6-8 + lectures)